Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, “This is the way; walk in it.” Isaiah 30:21 (NIV)
I was really disappointed. As part of the church prayer ministry, I had organized a silent prayer retreat for my church. A silent prayer retreat is where you go and everyone talks only to God until meal time when you can talk to each other. Keeps you from getting distracted. Why was I disappointed? Because only one person signed up. All that work and coordination to get the location for only our church and just one person was interested. Really? It just so happens that the one person who signed up was one of my best friends, Denise. We’d been super close for years and we were going to get to spend the day together in the country at a retreat with nothing but nature and God. We were pretty excited about a day together. We planned out the trip to the retreat and decided that we would each bring our own food for the day.
That morning as I was packing my lunch, I reached for the paper plate and plastic ware and I distinctly heard “Take Two.” I thought “I know I don’t have to take two because Denise is bringing her own lunch.” I took one. Then I went to make the food and again I heard “Take Two.” Again, I thought “This is silly. I don’t have to take two because Denise is bringing her lunch.” The third time I heard “Take Two” I began to realize this voice was persistent and maybe, just maybe, God was trying to tell me something. So, I said “Lord, I don’t know what you are doing because Denise is bringing her lunch but I will ‘Take Two.’ I went back and repacked two of everything and more food.
When we got to the retreat location, I came down with a huge headache. The retreat location had a huge southern style porch to it so as Denise went off to explore nature and talk to God; I lay down on the porch to try to get rid of my headache. As I was laying there willing my headache to be gone, I heard footsteps. I wondered if someone else from church decided to come but as I looked up a woman walked across the porch that I didn’t know. I said hello and she proceeded to walk across the porch and sit down on a chair.
I asked why she was there. Turns out she didn’t know the place was rented for a private event and she wanted to come pray. Well, it’s not like we were overly crowded or anything so I said OK. Her name was Elizabeth. I explained we were doing a silent retreat so we both sat in silence. Actually, I laid there in silence. Slowly, as lunchtime rolled around, my headache began to go away and Denise showed up.
We asked Elizabeth if she wanted to join us for lunch. She explained that she was moving north to pursue a God thing (sorry, I don’t remember the details). She had packed her house up and didn’t have any food with her. I smiled. God knew she was coming. God knew she would be hungry and God told me to bring enough food to provide for her. We all ate together and then went back to praying. Elizabeth did move north to pursue her calling and we still keep in touch. Denise and I are still besties.
I am so thankful that God talks to us in ways we don’t expect. I am still, after all these years, super excited that I got to watch him provide for one of his kids and I got to be a part of it. I know people think God doesn’t talk today, but he does. We just have to be open to listening for that Voice that is intervening on behalf of his kids all the time. I want to hone my listening so when I hear that Voice I simply say “Take Two, got it. Done.”